John Stossel did a fantastic piece on 20/20's "Give me a break" segment regarding John Edwards and personal injury lawyers (found via Galen's Log). Some excerpts:

In hospitals, the lawyers have bred so much fear that patients now suffer more pain, and may be less safe because doctors are concerned about being sued.

"That fear is always there," said obstetrics professor Dr. Edgar Mandeville. "Everybody walks in mortal ...

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A new study was released saying that tests are delayed on the weekends versus the weekdays.

In the study, published in the August edition of the American Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed six procedures commonly used in emergency situations:

Purpose
Many hospital departments tend to have lower staffing levels on weekends. We evaluated the use of selected urgent procedures for emergently hospitalized patients and measured the time ...

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I regularly receive the Cortlandt Forum and only recently realized they're on the web. It's an eclectic magazine, but has interesting malpractice cases. Here's another one.

Basically, it's a patient who came in with dyspepsia. The PCP ordered an upper GI series and it was read as normal. However months later, the symptoms continued, and an EGD found terminal stomach cancer. The ...

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Here's a cynical letter from an internal medicine physician found on Internal Medicine News:

The headline, "Internal Medicine Seen as Unmanageable Career Choice," hit home.  One of the last sentences, however, demonstrated that someone missed the boat:
"The initial results suggest that students respond to a structured curriculum, which gives them the sense that internal medicine is a manageable career."
 
Ouch.
 

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This case illustrates why a physician needs a true jury of peers in malpractice cases - people who at least have some medical background.  In this case, a cardiologist was sued for giving Retavase (presumably for an ST-elevation myocardial infarction).  Unfortunately, the patient died from cerebral hemorrhage - a well-known complication.  The jury found him liable.  Here's what the independent counsel found:

A four-person state medical malpractice screening panel that met ...

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This story is getting a lot of play here. Here are the basics:

In short, the unsupervised pharmacy technician, in her second week on the job, wrongly added insulin to an undisclosed number of intravenous nutrient bags prescribed to sick infants.

The feeding bags contained no indication of insulin on their labels. They apparently were not checked by the pharmacist before delivery to the neonatal intensive ...

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. . . Having a busy workload and being in a technical medical specialty increase the odds that a physician will not follow hospital handwashing guidelines, new research suggests . . .

. . . Adherence with hand hygiene guidelines averaged 57 percent, with internists having the highest rate - 87 percent -- and anesthesiologists having the lowest - 23 percent.


Interesting new study on physician handwashing. ...

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The myth of July syndrome

The NY Times today writes about the so-called July syndrome - the time when the new house staff start at teaching hospitals across the country. There is no data to support worse patient outcomes in July - although I can certainly remember the potential for disaster.

My very first day was being the night-float intern at the former Boston City Hospital. This meant cross-covering every ...

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A sign of things to come?

We have concierge practices, now people can pay extra for "priority access" at emergency rooms:

The 95-year-old financially ailing Southampton Hospital - the only serious medical emergency center on the South Fork - is offering a plan aimed at wealthy summer visitors whose primary doctors are back in Manhattan and out of reach, presumably along with the hospital's sense of propriety. For $6,000 per family, or $3,800 for individuals, ...

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorializes on how capitalism is one of the driving forces behind our broken health care system:

We now have a health-care system whose primary mission is not delivering health care. Instead, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and, in fact, many hospitals exist to make money. That's their first priority, and also their second and third priority. The product they sell happens to be improved ...

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